Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sanguettes - Blood Cakes

I love black pudding, especially the smooth French ones, so I had been meaning to try a sanguette for years. When ducks that have been raised for foie gras are killed, their blood is saved to make these sort of thick pancake things. Seasoning, garlic and oil goes into the pan, before the congealed blood. When it's cooked, it just looks like a lump of boudin noir (black pudding without cereals).

At the winter 'fat market' - where foie gras and all the other parts of the bird are sold - my mouth watered as I selected the tastiest-looking sanguette from the nicest-looking stall. It was wrapped in wax paper, and I could hardly wait to get it home.

Back in my kitchen, I prepared a plate with some dressed salad leaves and a dollop of special pink peppercorn mustard. Butter sizzled in the pan as I put in the heavy, hard sanguette. A couple of minutes on each side, then straight on the plate and I took my treasure out into the sun, to enjoy with a glass of red.

It was disgusting. I can't remember disliking any food or drink as much as this. I attempted to enjoy it several times before actually binning the thing - unheard-of behaviour for me.

It had the dense, dry, saliva-sapping texture of the liver that was served in English schools in the 80s - the reason so many of my contemporaries can't stand liver. It tasted bitter and musky and not of much else. Dried blood and boiled offal. That shouldn't be surprising I suppose, but I normally love offal and blood products!

The difference must be that boudin noir is blood mixed with loads of cream, fat and seasoning. Maybe duck's blood would also be nice if it was mixed with the same volume of cream, loads of fat, heavy seasoning, caramelised onions and a lot more garlic...?